What is a Citizen Scientist?
More and more scientists are taking advantage of the power of the internet, or the “crowd,” to help gather and process huge amounts of data.
A Citizen Scientist can be anyone. You just have to have an interest in science (and a computer).
I’m taking part in Cochrane Crowd.
Support evidence-based medicine
The Cochrane Library has been the go-to source for evidence-based healthcare for many years. Their researchers gather and interpret hundreds of studies, and then report on their quality. They look for poorly-designed studies, commercial bias, and flawed conclusions.
These reports, or meta-analyses, are available to everyone. I use Cochrane all the time.
So I’m happy to be able to support their quest for better health through credible evidence and informed decision-making.
Being a Citizen Scientist for Cochrane Crowd involves looking over the summary descriptions of research studies and identifying those that are Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs) or Controlled Clinical Trials (CCTs).
Their researchers will use that information to expand how many meta-analyses they can provide to physicians and patients.
It’s actually easier than it sounds, and you don’t need to have a medical or research background. There are training modules to get you started. And if you have an interest in a particular area of study, such as hypertension or diabetes or hepatitis C, you can prioritize the records you screen.
If clinical trials aren’t your thing but the idea of being a Citizen Scientist intrigues you, check out Zooniverse for lots of other options, including studying chimpanzees, transcribing civil war records, mapping galaxies, counting penguins and finding fossils.
I’ve posted before about EyeWire, which asks Citizen Scientists to help map nerves in the brain (it’s set up like a game).
We can all help advance science while having fun and learning something new. Win win!